Worldwide Sports Investments - Chris Smullen - The Westwood 100 Club Worldwide Sports Investments - Chris Smullen - The Westwood 100 Club
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Worldwide Sports Investments – Chris Smullen

This is a strange one. Worldwide Sports Investments (WSI), based in Burscough, Liverpool, is selling shares in a project it claims is backed by the very high profile International Sports Management (ISM) company run by Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler. WSI claims it is going to operate courses in Spain and Portugal (among other areas) in the names of golfers such as Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke.

Unfortunately for WSI, the company it claims to be in partnership is remarkably lukewarm on the deal. We wrote and asked them and got the following reply:

With regard to ISM’s involvement with WSI as referred to in your email, we can confirm that there have been some discussions between ISM, Andrew Chandler and Worldwide Sports Investments (“WSI”) regarding a possible property development in Portugal but as yet no agreement has been reached and/or entered into between ISM and/or Andrew Chandler and/or Lee Westwood and/or WSI. ISM, on its own behalf and on behalf of Lee, and Andrew Chandler, are still conducting their own enquiries. Lee’s image should not have been used in the recent advertising and must not in any way be construed as an endorsement by Lee and/or ISM and/or Andrew Chandler of the development or of Westwood 100 Club or WSI. Neither Lee nor ISM nor Mr Chandler take any responsibility in relation to any of them and you are strongly urged to make your own enquiries.

Kind regards
Chubby Chandler

So WSI is heavily promoting a product claiming it is being endorsed by a number of players whose management company claims that they do not endorse these courses nor does it wish to have its players connected to them. Very strange. While WSI’s site (just the one page linked above) is remarkably non-specific about what the company sells or does, it just contains a video full of cliché’s and generalised drivel, other sites around the web are a lot more forthcoming. If you contact the company for its prospectus you’ll get the following, oddly poorly delivered and non-specific outline:

Download (PDF, 7.29MB)

The offer of ‘guaranteed 200% returns‘ and just £25k as an entry level is proving too much of an enticement for many investors although, if you read through the document, how exactly the proposed returns are going to be achieved is remarkably sketchy.

The rebuke from ISM doesn’t seem to have deterred WSI in any way, it still ploughs ahead claiming to have full involvement with ISM – see here, where the company claims at the end; “With a board consisting of Chris Smullen, Andrew Chubby Chandler, Lee Westwood and Sean Keating, Worldwide Sports Investments are truly set at the forefront of the golfing world and understand what potential investors want for their money.” Not according to Chubby Chandler they’re not. They’re also pushing Lee Westwood’s association quite heavily here. As you can see from the attached picture, there are still some pages of the old WSI website floating around in which Chubby Chandler is pictured with the board members of WSI.

Chris Smullen of Worldwide Sports Investments

Chris Smullen of Worldwide Sports Investments

So what is Worldwide Sports Investment’s record in the property business? Not great to be honest. Mr. Smullen has previously been involved in a development in Sesimbra, a Portuguese bay south of Lisbon, which was by his own admission a disaster. The sole selling point for the ‘Westwood 100 Club’ is that WSI will take run down and under performing golf resorts, it will stick the famous golfer’s name on the resort and hey presto, it’ll fill the resort up enough to generate the exceptional returns being promoted. The truth of the matter is that nobody in WSI has any experience of running a resort of any description – something one would have thought would have been a prerequisite for any company hoping to rebrand and relaunch flagging resort courses.

In fact, WSI started out claiming it was going to ‘purchase’ courses around the world and breathe new life into them. It has since reviewed that decision and is now just ‘renting’ them. A significant change in tack – and a huge drop in potential outlay. It is believed that WSI felt that it initially had £50m of ISM’s money to play with, but when the deal didn’t go through as expected the money was taken off the table and WSI’s financial wherewithal is now substantially reduced.

WSI has set up a Deleware LLC (Limited Liability Company) to run its ‘business’. The only reason to form a Delaware company is for opacity. Delaware’s laws are famously arcane and it is almost impossible to find out what any of them do, who is involved, what income is derived, where its funds go, etc. Hence it is thought that a huge amount of the world’s email spammers are based in Delaware, or operating through companies based there. It’s just that sort of place. It’s certainly not the kind of place you’d want to see a company in which you are considering investing to be based. There’s simply no way to figure out what the company is doing with your funds, transparency is at a premium. That’s what Delaware LLC’s do best.

The lack of management experience is already showing as WSI has run into serious problems with its first project – Monte da Quinta in the Algarve. It got the resort, but it has no courses on which visitors to it can play. It is surrounded by Denis O’Brien’s Quinta do Lago resort, but QdL has no interest in having MdQ’s patrons play its courses – which has left them somewhat bereft. Now patrons at MdQ will have to be bussed to other resorts to play a round of golf, which is patently ludicrous and not really a great enticement for anybody to visit.

Do we think WSI is a fraudulent company? Not really, or certainly not intentionally. They’ve only proven so far that they are remarkably inept, but that is something an investor simply can’t countenance and the result is the same as if you invested with a fraudulent company – you lose all your money. You really don’t want to be paying for them to learn as they go because they’re doing so with your money. It appears that ISM has reached much the same conclusion and is rapidly trying to distance itself from WSI, but WSI is clinging on to the association by its fingernails – it really is the only selling point its got. If you’ve given WSI money it is highly advisable that you look for it back, the returns promised will never materialise.

You know what they say: “If it looks too good to be true then it probably is”.

There is an update on this story here.

Further update:

Worldwide Sports Investments (website now completely off-line) has been issued by the Companies House with a GAZ1, which is a first notification of strike-off action in the London Gazette (Section 652) – May 29th 2012 edition as far as I am aware. In this instance it has been issued for non-filing of accounts which were due on Feb 2012. See here.

Where is Chris Smullen now?

It appears at time of writing this addendum (August 2013) that he’s on the Spanish Balearic island of Mallorca apparently involved in betting shops in some of the many English pubs on the island. If you keep an eye on this Facebook page you should be able to track him down if you would like to ask him where your money went. The Three Lions Pub in Palma de Mallorca seems to be a favourite – if Liverpool FC are being televised it’s very likely you’ll find him there.

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Diarmaid Condon is Ireland's foremost Independent Overseas Property Consultant and Journalist. He has been in the industry since 1995 and, in that time, has been a strong advocate for improved legal protection in the sector.

  38 Responses to “Worldwide Sports Investments – Chris Smullen”

  1. many thanks for this info, looks as though I have been had. got in touch with him and he said would ring back but nothing. Dont realy know which way to turn, fraud squad press or TV.
    many thanks

    Stan

    • likewise .. he doesn’t reply at all !!!

    • Legal Stan I suspect. I don’t think there’s evidence of fraud, at least not yet, the press can be difficult to get interested and the TV practically impossible unless you can prove that it has affected a lot of clients – which is obviously difficult in your case. Penman & Sommerlad might be interested (http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/contact.php) but I can’t see who else would be.

      If you want to go legal you’ll have to have a good few clients to spread the cost as it is downright expensive and as the entry level on this one is quite low you couldn’t justify it for a few clients.

  2. I am another Investor in this scheme, I have had my worries too, but really hope lee comes on board.The whole AD was around this happening and no money should be used if this has not happen.perhaps all LW100 members should get a twit or blog going so we all know who we are christopherjohnrooney@hotmail.co.uk

  3. Has anyone had there money back? what are you being told by WSI ?
    contact me at christopherjohnrooney@hotmail.co.uk I am surprised to see so few comments on this site considering ISM have now pulled out and Chubby is no longer on the WSI board!!!

  4. Guys the cat is out of the bag, I reported WSI to the fraud squad .I have informed Chris Smullens and below is his response.
    Chris,

    After that e mail there’s nothing to chat about, ill speak to my lawyer tomorrow I think its best that I put it into administration now, let the receivers sort it that way you may get a tenth of your money back, if you were prepared to work with us, you could of got 100 per cent.

    Not to worry, we will inform you of the next move.

    Chris
    Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

  5. Good News I hope Chris has wrote to say he won’t go to administration and will work it all out I want to believe him and lets all hope for the best.

  6. Just finished speaking with Chris and he firmly believes he can pay a full refund back within 2 weeks so hold off the dogs until then.

  7. Christopher is still carrying on with his life and can be found on various dating sites including plenty of fish without a care in the world.
    so I suggest you take anything this man says with a pinch of salt as he’s the original get rich quick smooth talker…..nothing ever comes to fruition and its always about his ego !

  8. Kathy
    Would you like to explain to this little fish a little bit more about Chris
    Stan
    stan.stanford@tiscali.co.uk

    • If you Google and go through all the pages on him he’s been involved in portrait companies, spray tanning, directory enquiry services……you name it! (Ormskirk advertiser)
      He’s on plentyoffish.com and match.com because despite all this, life goes on as normal for him.
      He’s nickname locally is del boy of ormskirk…….this time next year we’ll be millionaires!

  9. Many thanks for this info, looks as though I have been had as well with my husband, Andrew.
    He keeps saying “money to return next week” but never did. Hence tonight we did a website search, tweeted and emailed Smullen, emailed Chubby etc etc. and then found this site.

    Not sure where to go from here?
    Do you spend a lot of money to get back nothing – or is there money left anywhere.
    Gutting and angry but….

    Jan

    • Thanks Jan. It’s a tough one, but I would suggest you getting some sort of a group together, perhaps contact Christopher below who seems to be taking it a step further. Whatever hope you have of recovering something it will come from getting involved as a group, doing it on your own will be very frustrating and will probably lead nowhere.

    • Hi Jan send me an email, christopherjohnrooney@hotmail.co.uk

  10. Have tried emailing him but no getting any reply at the moment.

  11. I am now in touch with 5 other members and if Jan emails me that will be 7 people who have paid £25000 plus admin fee

    Chris has been lying to us all about making payments from various different angles just to stall us and keep spending the cash.

    I am not sure he believes me that he is under investigation.CID are now involved so hopefully his door and his “team” will be having an early morning wake up call .

    He actually plays the Mr Nice guy and the victim very well but the fact that he continues to promise lie and ignore you demonstrates the complete opposite.I have copied his team in on his lies and they choose not to respond so guess they are in on it too.

    below is my response to his attempt to cover up his poor efforts at paying back.

    What world do you live in? I have you under investigation for fraud, sending me a confidentiality agreement with staggered payment is completely not acceptable there has already been to many lies and broken promises to me and other members. You again are just trying to stall for time and play us. You used our money without a contract or agreement and continued to use it even after you knew the deal was off.

    You Sean Paul and Howard are all part of a deliberate and misleading scheme, and the fact that you keep the lies going demonstrates to me that you are all at it!!!.

    > Subject: 100 club
    > From: csmullen@hotmail.co.uk
    > Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2012 06:40:45 +0100
    > To: christopherjohnrooney@hotmail.co.uk
    >
    > Morning Chris,
    >
    > Sorry for the delay in communication
    >
    > We have been trying to put together the finances in order to satisfy yourself and the remaining investors opting out.
    >
    > We, in order to prevent a CVA, are having our solicitors negotiate with the remaining investors for a repayment suitable for both parties.
    >
    > We have had interim negotiations with an administration company but feel we can house these repayments without the drama.
    >
    > This website of diarmaids, really is not helping anyone, but We have postponed future marketing until this is all sorted out.
    >
    > Investors opting out will shortly receive updates and a legal binding document to agree.
    >
    > This agreement acknowledges the repayment structure an also has clauses in stating that placing personal opinions on the current state on the internet is strictly prohibited.
    >
    > Chris
    >

    I am waiting for him to put a bid in for Rangers and Portsmouth as only him and Walter Mitty have the cash.

    Chris Rooney

  12. As of June 1st 2012 Worldwide Sports Investments has been issued by the Companies House with a GAZ1, which is a first notification of strike-off action in the London Gazette (Section 652) – May 29th edition as far as I am aware. In this instance it has been issued for non-filing of accounts which were due on Feb 2012. See here http://bit.ly/JyKvnY.

  13. I invested the minimal amount advertised as a ‘punt’ following the September issue of the Golf Monthly full page feature advert. To be honest, I thought that this was half of the due diligence done, you’d expect a quality magazine to do their own due diligence before allowing such endorsements – That month they also had Lee Westwood on the cover, so it was well-timed and gave the sub-conscious feeling of being someway connected. I since wrote to the editor, Mr Michael Harris after discovering the scam, he acknowledged receipt and said he would respond… 4 months ago… no further response. I’ve stopped buying the magazine as a minor protest of my dissatisfaction.

    Like any investment I take a punt on, it’s an amount I can afford to lose, albeit not happy about it. I think the above article was very kind in saying that Chris Smullen and WSI did not ‘intend’ to be fraudulent, they were just ‘inept’… I think it was both to a high degree.

    Unfortunately there will always be Chris Smullen’s of the world that have no idea how to make money ethically through hard work, knowledge and expertise – and they will never build up a network of professional counterparts that can help them further their careers or contacts – So if this Chris Smullen has any children, his legacy will be that of a conman, a failure and a burden to society – so his memory will fade into insignificance as will the remainder of his life. That’s just the way it goes for people like that.

    I am trying to get my money back via legal channels – I’ll keep this forum posted if I have any luck. Equally it might be a good idea for ‘duped’ investors of WSI to connect and stay in touch, as a group we might be useful in preventing him from doing this again should he slip through the net and set up a similar company in the near future. Feel free to connect with me: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dean-elliott/0/aa2/a26

    D. Elliott

    • Dean, no newspaper, magazine or property supplement ever does any due diligence on any company that advertises on its pages. They just take the money without question. I know this from having worked in the industry for some time. In fact the alarming lack of due diligence by the media is, to some extent, responsible for the irrational boom and consequent bust in the property markets across many countries, Ireland included.

      • he is always walking around ormskirk thinking he is the big man !!!
        he is a massive bulls***er and tells fabriacated lies to everyone.

        • What’s he driving these days Simon? I’d say his ‘investors’ would like to get an idea of what their cash is being spent on.

        • Hi Simon

          You are a new name on the scene, are you an investor?
          There is a group keeping in touch about developments, if you like to be included send me an email.

          Cheers

          Terry

          • Hi Everyone,

            I’m also an investor who has also been “had” . Kept chasing for contracts for as far back as i can remember and now he has all but disappeared. Who can I speak too in regards to the fraud?? What police station etc

  14. I am not an investor & i only know of him, but if its of any help to you he owns some Hair & Nail bars in Ormskirk called Funked.

  15. Hi everyone, i have also had money invested with him.
    There have been cameras in Ormskirk looking for him,think there from ‘rouge traders’ so they are onto him……not before time.
    He is a fat w***er who thinks he can take people’s money and HIDE !!!
    Try this mobile number investors 07875751877
    He is running scared by the sounds of it……

    • I’ve googled the funk salon and there number is 0845 519 9132 if you all want to call him, I’ve tried but got the answer message.

      From what I can tell 1 of the salons has closed down .

      I wonder if his clients no exactly the kind of man he is ?

      I’m sure they would love to know …..

  16. I have been contacted by an investor in the Paderia Vila Sol investment.VPLF they have been conned exactly the same way as the WSI investment with Chris Smullens,Sean Keating,Howard Jones and Steve Clarke as the partners in crime.The Police are actively looking for Smullens and co.If you are an investor in Vila Sol Portugal,Quinta De Lago Portugal or VPLF Vila Sol Spain.Please contact me by my email and I can forward your details to the Police. If anyone knows where any of these guys are let me know. Diarmaid could you do an article on the Vila Sol con so that anyone searching will hit your site.I originally posted here to stop their con but they still got through the net.

    Chris Rooney 07946581755

    • No problem Chris, send on the info and I’ll do a post on it.

      Chris Smullen appears to be on the Balearic island of Mallorca at the moment. The Three Lions Pub any day Liverpool are playing a match seems to be your best bet. He’s shut his Facebook page to the great unwashed, so I’m guessing he’s been contacted by a few disgruntled investors via that platform in recent weeks.

  17. Smullen your gone

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